Trump administration wants to collect DNA from detained immigrants

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Image: Veronica G. Cardenas / Reuters

The Trump administration plans to vastly expand a program to collect DNA information from migrants in detention and enter it in a database designed to identify criminal suspects, under an upcoming rule from the Department of Justice.

Administration officials say the DNA tests are necessary to determine whether adult migrants and the children they travel with are genetically proven to be a family. They also say the testing is needed to enforce a 2005 law requiring DNA samples be taken from people in federal custody.

But privacy advocates have raised concerns about whether mass DNA testing violates immigrants’ privacy rights and whether the test results are reliable. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy group, called the plan “dystopian.”

Related article:  Why Microsoft wants to design a system that stores data in DNA

Under the rule, officials would collect DNA samples from people in both US Customs and Border Protection and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody and then send those samples to an FBI lab for analysis.

Almost 458,000 families have been arrested at the border between October 2018 and August 2019. In May, ICE rolled out two DNA testing pilot programs — dubbed Operation Double Helix 1.0 and 2.0 — that used DNA tests to determine biological links between migrants who claimed to be family members.

Read full, original post:  The US wants to collect DNA from immigrant detainees for a federal criminal database

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